March 29, 2021

What is an Account-Based Marketing Strategy

By Artemus Bryant, Content Strategist

In marketing, strategy dictates outcomes. Even with the best marketing tools at your business's disposal, your strategy still makes the most significant difference in reaching your goals. 

Today's companies increasingly need to demonstrate a return on investment for marketing spend, and with B2B buyers conducting online research before purchasing, your strategy is more critical than ever. One proven strategy that outperforms all other channels is account-based marketing or ABM. It leverages the importance that online research plays in overall sales and focuses your marketing efforts effectively.

What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a business marketing strategy that concentrates efforts on a set of  target accounts. It uses personalized campaigns designed to engage each account, basing the marketing message on the account's specific attributes and needs.

Account-based marketing utilizes a holistic marketing approach, and it extends beyond just lead generation. Marketing to your existing customers to promote cross-selling and upselling is one of the critical elements in obtaining the most value from your more significant accounts.

The Benefits of Account-Based Marketing

"Almost 85% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments"

ITSMA

To better understand the benefits of ABM, you need to reorient your view of what ABM is. It is not just a tactic or strategy but rather an organizational mentality. One of the biggest lessons learned about ABM in 2020 is the businesses that knew their customer, their (customer's) goals, and how the solution they provide helps to influence and achieve those goals were successful.

By measuring their customer relationships' strength, businesses can gauge their impact and understand how customers view their goals and mission criticality. The knowledge a business gains from this (ABM) approach allows them to grow its customer relationships significantly. 

"Account-based Marketing gained traction, with 61% of companies surveyed in 2020 having a full ABM program in place or in the midst of a pilot program"

ITSMA

Account-Based Marketing Strategy: Tactics for Success

The ABM Leadership Alliance study revealed many insights about how businesses can obtain the most from their ABM strategy in 2021. The following are some of the tactics your company can utilize to achieve success using account-based marketing.

Align your marketing with sales

"B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth."

SiriusDecisions

By aligning your marketing and sales teams, you will increase revenue and promote organizational collaboration, including account-based programs. The synergy will foster growth across the entire company landscape. The ABM Leadership Alliance study's research states that the most effective programs include marketers who work the most closely with sales.

Use multiple strategies

"The most successful programs employ more than one of these strategies, with 20% of the highest yielding programs using all three."

ABM Leadership Alliance study

Many companies start their business approach using a single strategy, for example, one-to-few, one-to-one, or one-to-many. However, the study's findings indicate that your business can achieve more success if they utilize multiple strategies simultaneously.

"In 2021, 48% of marketers plan to adopt a blended approach with at least two styles, which means that marketers have deepened their understanding and are moving forward more effectively."

ABM Leadership Alliance study

Refocus on the correct metrics

"73% of the highest performing organizations measure revenue, relationships, and reputation."

DemandBase

In marketing, measuring results is critical to a campaign's overall success and making the correct adjustments accordingly. However, the key is to measure the right metrics. In the case of account-based marketing, it's revenue, relationships, and reputation. With these three metrics, you will gain clearer insight that is actual and impactful. 

Remain agile

"97% of marketers surveyed said ABM had higher ROI than other marketing activities."

Alterra Group

The marketing landscape is no stranger to rapid and constant change. However, 2020 provided an exercise in the certainty of uncertainty, thus promoting the need for companies to be more agile. Agility is a critical element with new technologies and new approaches developing daily. 

The most effective ABM strategies in 2020 were agile and quick to adjust to the ever-evolving changes and marketing demands. The agility born of necessity in 2020 will need to evolve in 2021 even further. ABM strategies change our industry focus and account clusters, paving the way for newer tactics like account-focused interactive virtual meetings and events.

Focus on account-level research

"Almost 85% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments."

ITSMA

According to ITSMA, the best account-based results of 2020 came from businesses that invested heavily in predictive and data management, direct account insights, intent, and engagement. This is logical because understanding the data on a personal and more profound level is a requirement for success with ABM. This highlights the significance of account-level research.

The use of ABM as a preference in marketing is continuously growing. However, in 2020 there was a tipping of the scales in ABMs use and impact on marketing. It's time for B2B marketing teams to incorporate this approach into their overall strategies and utilize this strategic investment's benefits. 

Sources

Alterra Group, Keys to the Success of ABM: Investment, Measurement, and Alignment, 2020.

Marketo, What is account-based marketing, or ABM?, 2020.

DemandBase, The ABM Leadership Alliance and ITSMA Release 2020 ABM Research Study, 2021.

HubSpot,  The Ultimate Guide to Account-Based Marketing (ABM), 2021.